Contreras Law Firm - Family Law
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Elyse B. Butler
  • Shareholder CFLS

Areas of Practice

  • Divorce and legal separation
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Post-judgment modifications
  • Mediation
  • Guardianships
  • Surrogacy matters
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Family Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, 2014

Elyse B. Butler is a distinguished lawyer based in San Diego, California. She is Certified by the State Bar of California and Verified by the Lead Counsel Review Board. As a shareholder and partner of Contreras Law Firm, her client-focused approach to everything from property division to child custody and visitation has earned her recognition from Super Lawyers Magazine, the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, and the National Advocates.


In addition to her training and detailed knowledge of California law, Ms. Butler attributes her success over the years to her in-depth understanding of family dynamics and the long-term consequences of legal actions on family members. She recognizes both the emotional and the financial challenges that arise in difficult family matters, and as such works hard to achieve solutions that both meet individual goals and preserve relationships. Complex cases with international assets or child relocation (move-away) matters to countries outside the United States are those that truly remind her of why she practices family law.

To continue providing her clients with industry-leading service, she keeps her eye on prevailing trends within family law. In particular, Ms. Butler is paying close attention and enjoys representing clients in the fairly new area of surrogacy law.

She is passionate about providing families with much-needed assistance in finding peaceful solutions that maintain familial relationships as best as possible. Through compassionate, client-focused representation, along with creative legal strategies including collaborative divorce or mediation when appropriate, Ms. Butler does everything in her power to provide clients with resolutions that promise a bright a future. However, for issues that cannot be settled, she is thoroughly skilled and versed in complex family law trials.

Ms. Butler earned her B.A. summa cum laude from Arizona State University. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor at California Western School of Law where she volunteered at the Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic and the Family Law Facilitator's Office. She also spent time clerking for the Honorable Robert C. Coates (ret.), further developing both her writing and legal skills by assisting in the legal research and drafting of Ending Chronic Homelessness in America's Major Cities: The Justice System Component (University of San Francisco Law Review, Fall 2007, Vol. 42.).

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California


  • California Western School of Law, San Diego, California
    • J.D.
  • Arizona State University
    • B.A.
    • Honors: summa cum laude
    • Major: Journalism and Mass Communication specializing in Media Analysis and Criticism from the college of Public Programs
    • Major: Justice Studies

Honors and Awards

  • Lead Counsel Rated and Verified, California, Thomson Reuters, 2015-Present
  • “10 Best” Attorneys – Under 40, California, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016-Present
  • “10 Best” in Client Satisfaction, California, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016-Present
  • Super Lawyers Rising Stars
  • Expert Network Distinguished Lawyer, Recipient
  • Finance Monthly Magazine Legal Awards
  • Who’s Who
  • Top 10 Family Law Attorney, Best of the Best Attorneys
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 10%, the American Registry
  • Top 10 Family Law Attorney, Attorney and Practice Magazine
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals, the American Registry
  • Top 100 Lawyer, the National Advocates
  • Client Distinction Award, and
  • Noticed, Recipient
  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, Member
  • Lawyer Monthly Women in Law, Recipient
  • Women in Law Awards, Lawyer Magazine, 2020

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • San Diego County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • San Diego Bar Association, LRIS Referral Member (Family Law)
  • San Diego Bar Association

Published Works

  • Ending Chronic Homelessness in America’s Major Cities: The Justice System Component, The University of San Francisco Law Review, Fall, Vol. 42, 2007


  • English